Media reports: FRA deputy administrator resigns

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WASHINGTON — Media outlets say the Federal Railroad Administration's one-time deputy administrator has resigned after allegations that he continued private consulting work while receiving paychecks from the U.S. government.

Online news site Politico reported on Sunday that FRA Deputy Administrator Heath Hall resigned on Saturday. Hall is a Mississippi Republican whom Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao named to the deputy administrator's post in June 2017. He had taken a leave of absence in January for family reasons.

The Politico report, however, claims that Hall had not only continued to receive payments from a Mississippi sheriff's department, but had been labeled as the police department's representative in at least two news reports after his appointment to the FRA.

Politico also cites a former FRA public relations official saying that she had fielded three requests from a Mississippi television station for Hall in 2017 regarding non-FRA business.

FRA officials have yet to respond to a request for comment from Trains News Wire about the allegations.

President Donald Trump nominated former Conrail Shared Assets chief Ron Batory as FRA administrator in July. If confirmed, Batory would have been Hall's boss. However, U.S. Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., have held up Batory's confirmation in the Senate, in part, because of the senators' desire to get Trump to agree to finance upgrades to tunnels linking New York City to New Jersey along the Northeast Corridor.

In the absence of a political appointee as FRA's head, the agency's chief legal counsel Juan D. Reyes III serves as acting deputy FRA administrator.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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